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The software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) is a specific application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology applied to WAN connections, which are used to connect enterprise networks – including branch offices and data centers – over large geographic distances.
A WAN might be used, for example, to connect branch offices to a central corporate network, or to connect data centers separated by distance. In the past, these WAN connections often used technology that required special proprietary hardware. The SD-WAN movement seeks to move more of the network control into the “cloud,” using a software approach.